You may have noticed that I’ve been missing in action lately. I’ve been busy with a lot of personal work and have felt overwhelmed. I took a few steps the past couple of weeks to simplify my life so I could focus more on what mattered at the moment. I do this from time to time whenever I am feeling stressed and have a million responsibilities on the horizon. I’ll take a step back from my life on a day off from work and use it to clean my place and reorganize my priorities. Even if you feel like you need to work every single moment it is often more helpful to take a step back and refocus yourself over an hour or two. Here are a few things I do that help ease the stress and keep me productive.
Read a book: Reading books helps calm my nerves. I’ll do this mostly before bed, but really any time of the day where you need a little break helps. Read something that interests you. I personally like fantasy, science fiction, or novels dealing with a twist on historical facts (check out The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova).
Skip TV: I enjoy relaxing with a few episodes of my favorite TV show. However, television can be just as stress inducing as anything else. If you have ever watched Game of Thrones, you know how this goes.
Make a List: I’m sure most of you already do this. However, there is one trap I can fall into, which is making the task big and nebulous. “APPLY FOR SCHOOL” could be one of those. There are many steps in the process in applying for school, such as filling out applications, asking for letters of recommendation, writing an entrance essay, and calling to ask questions to admissions for different schools. Break down this large tasks into bite size achievable portions. Baby steps help you conquer larger tasks. Plus, the more boxes you are able to tick off your check list, the better it feels.
Exercise: I firmly believe that exercise is among one of the best things you can do for yourself. It is a great way to clear your mind, reinforce information you have learned, boost your immune system, and feel good about yourself. Exercise has a rather low commitment barrier since only 30 minutes a day is required and you can do it at home. With that said, I don’t always do it. Which brings me to my next point.
Set a Schedule: I can do a few of the above listed things, but eventually I’ll fall out of it if I don’t have a consistent schedule which reinforces these good habits. For example, if I save exercising until later in the evening, guess who has two thumbs and won’t be going to the gym. This guy! The best way to reduce stress is have a plan. Setting a schedule provides you with such a plan.
Get Outside: Go take a walk or like Scott, explore the wilderness around you. Being outside does wonders for centering yourself and putting life into perspective. It is a big beautiful world so go relax and enjoy it.
Those are a few of my favorite ways to cool my jets and refocus myself. Does anyone else have good suggestions? Leave a comment below.